It's true that restaurant patrons are becoming more discriminating in their purchase choices, and there's no better example of customers' changing preferences when it comes to beverage options. Even with this information at our disposal, however, it's difficult to unpack it and understand what restaurant owners and managers must do to respond to the shifting tides of modern consumer choice.
One thing is clear: Your bottom line can and will be affected by your food and beverage selection no matter what sector of the food service industry your business inhabits. Fast food restaurants, for example, are giving their customers more choices with soft drinks, coffee, and tea options in the same way that bars are trying to offer a more diverse selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Here's a brief guide to maintaining a diverse product mix, upselling the consumer wherever possible, and maximizing fountain drink sales to preserve your bottom line.
How Are Customer Preferences Changing?
We already know customers are looking at beverage options in restaurants in new ways, but how and why? One reason why is an increase in customer's standards. When some restaurants are offering beverages of higher quality, consumers expect this type of quality everywhere they go. For restaurant owners who want to diversify their beverage options, this is actually a good thing. When customers are willing to pay more for higher-quality beverages, upselling them becomes far simpler.
Another reason why customers are making different choices in recent years is because of the health information they have at their disposal. Consumers are thinking about their health more than ever before, especially when choosing from a selection of beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Why Is This a Problem and How Can Restaurants Respond?
It's simple: When customers don't find something on the menu that fits their criteria, they tend to settle for cheaper alternatives. When it comes to beverage choices, this alternative is tap water, which is free in most establishments. In the short run and the long run of owning a business, this hurts your bottom line and keeps inventory on the shelves.
Because consumers expect such a variety of choices every time they open a menu, you must consider every possibility when building a beverage menu. On one hand, traditionalists still choose soft drinks more than any other beverage option in restaurants and stores. On the other hand, many customers expect to see healthier choices, such as organic alternatives, juices, and teas. Introducing new, healthier drinks to your old beverage menu may do the trick, and giving your wait staff options to upsell is always an excellent way to increase profit margins.
What Is the Result for Your Business?
No matter what type of restaurant you own or manage, you've considered the quality of your menu in meticulous detail. Maybe it's time to reconsider your beverage needs for the benefit of fountain drink sales and restaurant profits. If you own a bar, you've probably carefully chosen your alcoholic offerings, but what about the quality of the mixers?
Restaurants have the most success upselling customers when they put more thought into producing a diverse selection of beverages and brands. When customers visit your business and see a diverse range of products, from gourmet coffees to healthier juices, teas, and soft drinks, they'll be more likely to purchase a drink instead of opting for a free alternative. This benefits your bottom line in the long run.